MARUAH to take a closer look at live telecasts of parliamentary proceedings with new public forum

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MARUAH, a human rights NGO in Singapore, is organising a public forum to discuss the issue of live telecasts of parliamentary proceedings. The forum is open to all members of the public and will be held between 1pm to 4pm, this Saturday (28 April) at Bras Basah Complex.

A representative of MARUAH shared that the group intends to take a closer look at the issue which grabbed headlines last year, when the Worker’s Party’s Leon Perera clashed with Senior Minister of State Chee Hong Tat over the matter in Parliament and hopefully answer some pertinent questions that emerged from that exchange:

“The issue of and request for live telecasting of parliamentary proceedings gained attention last year during a parliamentary proceeding.

“On 7 November 2017, Non-Constituency Member of Parliament, Leon Perera from the Workers’ Party (WP), raised a question on the ownership of copyright to the video recordings of parliamentary recordings. To which, Senior Minister of State for Ministry of Communication and Information, Chee Hong Tat, replied that the government commissions Mediacorp, the national broadcaster, to record and upload video footages of parliamentary proceedings to the Channel NewsAsia’s Parliament microsite. Ownership of the copyright of the footages remains to be the government’s.

“To the question of why live telecasting of parliamentary proceedings is not made available when other countries like Japan, Taiwan and the United States do provide that service, Chee responded by saying there is no great demand for a live feed and the status quo has worked well so far, no need to look for imaginary problems when no problems exist.

“Is it really an imaginary problem conjured up by people with unknown intentions? If so, what are the stakes at hand? What are the gains and losses with a regular live telecast of the parliamentary proceedings and alternatively, without?”

The MARUAH representative added that it is crucial to inspect this issue, especially since the issue may be blurred by the politics between the ruling party and the Workers’ Party:

“Politics between the PAP and the WP, sensationalised by the media, may blur the deeper issues implicated with a non-provision of parliamentary proceedings. Ideas of transparency of the government, accountability towards civil society and conversely, civil society’s role in holding their leaders accountable. These ideas marks merely the beginning of the analysis.”

Join the public forum this Saturday to listen to the views of the event speakers and offer your own views to the discussion: